Artificial Intelligence 2017: AI age has begun in the Philippines
Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the Philippines is powering all business sectors now. Automation has always been the constant change in the first-world countries. In Asia, the Philippines is widely known as one of the countries in the world that are never left behind in terms of digital and high-technological systems because of its more than 100 million residents—the 12th most populous country in the world.
The Philippines is where every technology built by America, Europe, and China are tested by local tech companies before selling them to millions of consumers nationwide and hundreds of millions of consumers worldwide. In mid-2017, as the world’s most innovative companies started integrating machine learning technologies into their products, AI age in the Philippines also began. Several tech companies in Manila introduced automated systems powered by Artificial Intelligence.
Philippine technology products powered by AI
IMARK International, the marketing arm of the world’s most innovative technology companies, introduced several AI-powered products to the Philippine companies in Metro Manila, Cebu, Davao, and CDO. AI was integrated into Big Data, which resulted in superfast analysis, prediction, and accurate interaction of the systems with the end users or customers.
IMARK introduced AI-powered commercial products and services such as residential and commercial security systems, visual search and image recognition software, text-to-speech (speech-enabling websites and systems), customer service robot or chatbot, data analytics for CRM systems, security robot for residential and commercial buildings, voice assistant using machine learning technology, voice and facial recognition system, and many technologies developed within the most secretive tech hub of ICNetSys Inc., the biggest network of digital agencies, tech startups, and freelancers in the Philippines.
Philippine jobs to be replaced by AI
Artificial Intelligence is slowly replacing many skilled workers in Metro Manila today—just like how agricultural machines decades ago had replaced farmers in the provinces.
“A lot of jobs are getting automated, and in 10-20 years your job today may end up obsolete,” according to Kali Alaia, a veteran digital marketing strategist in the Philippines. Scientists predict jobs of factory workers, drivers, lawyers, chefs and cooks, teachers, engineers, nurses, stock brokers, doctors, and even DotA players will be the first batch of jobs to be robotized or automated. The time has come when AI age will challenge humans to think of products and services beyond capability of robots or machines.
“AI age has started. In mid-2017, IMARK partnered with one of the local banks in the Philippines. Our AI engineers were tasked to build and maintain automated customer service based on the big data using machine learning technology,” stated by Rommel Buenconsejo, a digital marketing consultant in the Philippines with more than 10 years of experience in digital marketing and technology development.
AI to reduce labor cost and operational expenses by more than 50%
Automation is the only solution to minimize human errors and labor expenses. As much as companies want to keep employees such as customer service representatives, operating everything on manual mode is quite expensive.
Imagine a Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) company with 200 customer service representatives and each of them gets a salary of ₱25,000 a month for example, the company spends ₱5M a month for salary expenses alone. And imagine a company that deploys an automated system where monthly maintenance of the system costs not more than ₱1M. There is a big difference. The company can reduce the cost to 80%.
Demand for AI in the Philippine business community growing
In the Philippines, the demand for automation in the local market has started rapidly. Even the small enterprises need to automate operations to ensure that their goals to double and triple their revenues are met. Tech companies like IMARK help a number of Philippine companies to leverage high-tech tools that world’s most innovative companies are deploying to their own systems. Making the Philippines more technological like the rest of the first-world countries is slowly happening this year. By 2030, it is not impossible to see the biggest Philippine brands running without machine learning technologies integrated into the Artificial Intelligence.
Facts about Artificial Intelligence in the Philippines
Here’s the questionnaire sent by students from various universities in the Philippines as they interviewed our AI engineers.
Is the Philippines ready to integrate Artificial Intelligence into the structures or buildings?
We have integrated Artificial Intelligence through software installed in residential and commercial buildings in Metro Manila, specifically in high-end subdivisions owned by corporate executives and in commercial offices at the central business districts such as Ayala in Makati, BGC in Taguig, and Filinvest City in Alabang, Muntinlupa.
Both the residential and the commercial buildings are capable of performing automated tasks, which were done manually years ago, such as automatic lighting of the room where sensors detect motion of persons walking, automatic opening and closing of doors when sensors detect persons coming closer to the doors, cooling the rooms where there are persons, automatic locking of rooms where there are unknown persons detected by software as “intruders,” and many more advanced custom features we cannot disclose publicly due to privacy and security reasons.
Our software programs use machine learning technology to automate the process by learning human movements and analyzing the patterns without too much human intervention. In residential buildings, for example, the software knows exactly what to do and when to do. When a resident wakes up in the morning, the software begins to prepare the morning breakfast. The software can tell exactly what food or drinks to prepare on any given day by studying preferences of the person on a daily basis. Similar features are also implemented in condo units owned by corporate executives.
We’re not the only company in the Philippines that provides this service. There are more and more companies entering the market, and this is why building AI-powered smart buildings in the Philippines is never impossible. In fact, similar features were already introduced to the market many years ago.
Is Artificial Intelligence killing jobs in the Philippines?
Artificial Intelligence does kill jobs. We should not be surprised because decades ago, machines had replaced a number of manual jobs. Similarly, Artificial Intelligence is replacing even skilled workers that computer-programmed robots or software can perform.
This is a bad news for employees, but this is a good news for employers, as this saves company owners huge amount of money. Consider the scenario of the BPO Company above. The salary expenses were reduced by 80%, which is beneficial to the company.
The AI-powered CSR or Customer Service Robot responds to every inquiry automatically compared to hiring a person that puts another caller to the queue or waiting list while talking to the current caller. Efficiency and cost-effectiveness are the reasons why most companies now are favoring Artificial Intelligence over human workers.
Is it possible to create JARVIS of the Philippines?
In the Marvel Cinematic Universe movie Iron Man, the main character Tony Stark has this natural-language user interface computer system named J.A.R.V.I.S. and was later on upgraded into an Artificial Intelligent, which is capable of doing tasks such as running business and security for Stark’s Mansion and Tower. In reality, is it possible to create our own “J.A.R.V.I.S.” and incorporate it to the buildings such as convention and cultural centers?
AI like JARVIS is already integrated into many buildings in America, Europe, and China. It is also possible to imitate voice of anyone you like, including your favorite personality, and integrate it into the text-to-speech software powered by machine learning technology.
There are startups in Metro Manila that develop AI-powered voice using machine learning technology to imitate famous local voices of Kabayan Noli De Castro, Mike Enriquez, and President Duterte. Instead of using SIRI, we can sign partnership with famous celebrities like Rufa Mae Quinto and Charo Santos, Mel Tiangco, or even Karen Davila to be the default voice of the robot installed in a residential or commercial building or even in convention and cultural centers.
How reliable is Artificial Intelligence?
Artificial Intelligence is not a new technology. It existed decades ago. And every year, it’s progressing to perfection.
Based on our experience, specifically with the tech products and services we provide to other companies, AI has been 1,000% reliable than humans in terms of automation and speed. Humans are prone to more errors while AI commits very minimal mistakes. AI isn’t 100% accurate when you use it or work with it on the first day because it’s normal for the AI to study your tasks or routine activities, learn more about you and what you do, and analyze all data and patterns until it performs the way you want it to perform or the way you perform things in the real world.
How does Artificial Neural Networks work in your technology products?
Most B2B or corporate technology products we release each year are using Artificial Neural Networks (ANN), which enables machine learning technology to understand every piece of unstructured data received from the user and every piece of structured data from the database sent by the system back to the user.
Do you think integrating AI into the Customer-Relationship Management (CRM) system is helpful?
We rely on technologies, as we’re managing terabytes of data received from various customers through different CRM systems.
Imagine having millions of customers in a database. Without AI, specifically the machine learning technology integrated into it, it will take time to collect and analyze data from every row and every column. With AI, it speeds up the process.
The speed of data output in every query and the 100% accuracy of data returned to every query are the most important achievements of having AI implemented in our system, as this process not only eliminates delays by humans, human errors, and salaries, but also serves millions of customers in real time keeping all customers satisfied. The bottom line is, it’s faster and cheaper compared to hiring thousands of employees and paying for higher operational costs.
Do you think integrating AI into the CRM system increases customer retention rates?
The data in the CRM system are analyzed by Artificial Intelligence allowing us to study customer insights, which helps us in our decision-making process. These insights or data allow us to see the weakest points that we can change to improve customer retention rates.
Compared to older methods, how much the system changed now with AI?
We run ecommerce businesses throughout Asia. We used to support all merchants and customers in one CRM system with hundreds of customer service representatives. When we started to integrate AI into the CRM, more than 90% of human customer service representatives were replaced by customer service robots.
We retained 10% of the manpower resources to accommodate requests or answer questions that robots identify “unanswerable” or “unknown.” Answers by these human customer service representatives are recorded and stored into the database, which teaches how AI and its machine learning technology will interact in the future when similar questions or requests are received by the system.
What types of other AI do you use?
All AI-powered software tools we develop are based on Narrow AI, which only understands patterns of structured data before executing commands or performing actions. Here’s the list of AI-powered technology products that we release to our partner companies and clients, specifically in Asia and the Philippines.
- Customer Service Robot or Chatbot (software)
- Data Analytics for CRM systems (software)
- Security Robot for residential and commercial buildings (software)
- AI-powered Voice Assistant using machine learning technology (software)
- Voice and Facial Recognition System (software)
Which type of AI do you utilize its functions the most?
Customer Service Robot or Chatbot with Data Analytics integration, a type of Narrow AI, has the highest number of users and the most in-demand tool across the various Philippine business sectors.
In other parts of Asia, specifically in China, South Korea, Japan, Thailand, Singapore, and Indonesia, customer service robots or chatbots are the most used and deployed AI in the business where ecommerce is the largest business of small and medium-sized enterprises.
Why do you implement AI?
We develop tools that solve problems. With a number of businesses complaining about higher operating costs and expenses, we joined other technology companies in the world with an aim at automating almost every single thing in the business world. AI was identified as one of the most advanced solutions to delays, slowest processes, and expensive resources.
In addition, although AI is not a new technology, as it has been around in the market for decades now, this will play a vital role in a more advanced or smart society in the next few decades. We’re all getting there. That is the goal of the tech innovators in the world, and that is why we continue to develop similar technologies.